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Finding Frances Paperback – April 10, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Winston-Higgins Press (April 10, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982614004
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982614006
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,057,119 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Editorial Reviews

"How does each person want to live? How would they want to die?...Our current medical system is required to do whatever it can to prolong life. Is there a way for us to improve on that model? Van Dyck brings these questions smoothly to the surface without ever pushing an agenda or setting up arguments. She leaves the reader wishing death could be made easier and glad that the family and hospital finally helped Frances go." The Washington Times

"It is a real joy to read this novel, which is rooted in the present reality that our advances in technology have outpaced our ability to restrain them. Our journey on this planet has a beginning and an ending. We have to ease the burdens of the final goodbye and relearn the naturalness of dying." --Lofty Basta, MD, Author of "Graceful Exit" and "Life and Death on Your Own Terms"



"I thought of this book as I watched Monday night s offering of the Showtime series, Nurse Jackie... Do we ever understand fully what family or friends of dying patients go through?" ...Perspective: Nurses

"Something about this story grabbed me and compelled me to read to the end." --Gail Guterl, ADVANCE Book Club for Nurses

About the Author

Janice M. Van Dyck was born in Philadelphia and is a former corporate officer, organizational development consultant and communications specialist. She lives on the west coast of Florida. Her first novel was The O'Malley Trilogy, and she is at work on her next book.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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This book can help people find peace of mind.
One Opinion
This book is based on the author's true events and shows how love of family brings everyone together at a crucial moment.
eclecticreviewer
It is a thought provoking book and it was very good for our book group discussion.
Regina Bradley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on April 22, 2010
Format: Paperback
Suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease that makes breathing difficult, Frances is ready to join God. When her latest attack occurs, she lies down calmly waiting for God to embrace her and does not call her spouse Bill who remains in denial and would call 911. However, when death fails to come right away and the pain turns excruciating, she manages to get Bill to call 911.

Frances needs emergency surgery to remove the infarcted bowel, but though she prefers to say no intrusive operation, she needs professional care that will be covered by insurance at the hospital but not at home. Frances pleads with her son William to allow her to die although she knows her husband and her other children will refuse. When the operation fails, her doctor wants a second try, but Frances says enough; she chooses a death with dignity decision opting for hospice care rather than hospital treatment, but her family wants her to reconsider.

Avoiding melodrama, Finding Frances is a great family drama that looks deeply at the impact on everyone when a loved one is dying. Frances is the most adjusted due to her belief in the afterlife; her husband and three adult children cannot let her leave them without fighting for her to keep trying. Making a strong case for end of life counseling for a family, readers will appreciate Janice M. Van Dyck's insightful drama; as spending time with Frances and her family provides a profound timely look at dying.

Harriet Klausner
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Janice Van Dyck, the author of FINDING FRANCES, approaches this task of dealing with a family's struggle with the issue of conflicting decisions about death and dying with a strong background of gifts: she is an executive coach and communications specialist, has a fine first novel ('The O'Malley Trilogy') under her belt, and most important, she is writing from her own experience with the topic at hand. This novel is a biographical examination of how the author's family coped with the issues of a dying parent. It is a well-written, balanced discussion from all aspects about choices made about the time of death, fast paced novel that carries a mighty wallop - an introduction for all of us to meditate on the aspects the novel explores about an individual's participation in that 'final event'.

Frances is in her mid-seventies, has been a life long smoker, and now faces the diagnosis of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease - or emphysema - and the strains that disease places on all organ systems of the body. She is married to an emotionally ill-equipped Bill, and is mother to William, a medical school dropout married to a dermatologist, to Randy who left home after high school unable to cope with the lack of love for his parents and became a lawyer, and to Cynthia ('Sugar') who is divorced and somewhat rigid in her approach to change. Frances develops complications form her disease, decides she is unwilling to live a life supported by machines, and has elected to dimply die: she is ready mentally and spiritually. An acute problem results in a hospitalization with concomitant surgeries and defibrillation episodes and her family gathers round: old animosities and gaps in communication surface and there is considerable discussion about Frances' decision to discontinue living.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Barb on July 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I found Janice VanDyke's "Finding Frances" to be a very timely, thought provoking and moving novel about the process of dying and its effect upon loving family members. She presents the full range of their emotions as well as the philosophical reasoning and way different cultures approach dying. Her book helps to clarify some of the issues facing our health system today as we examine the medical ethics of allowing one to choose to die with dignity. One feels great sympathy for the characters and their widely varying viewpoints and resultant behavior. I applaud Ms. VanDyke for her sensitive examination of this most difficult subject.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Peter on July 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Finding Francis is about finding peace, the peace we all should find when we accept that our own end is in sight, but more importantly the peace we must share in our acceptance that a parent or sibling is ready to leave this earth. Janice tackles the issues around the understanding, acceptance and support of people who are about to leave us very well, and in doing so helps the reader to a better understanding of a very difficult subject. My parents are gone, but I am now better prepared to help my children gain comfort and provide support when my time comes. Thank you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Regina Bradley on July 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover
As we approach middle age, most of us are faced with the aging of our parents. I thought this book really touched on this issue. None of us know how our lives will end and Frances had an option to make a decision as to how hers would end. It may not have been the decision that her husband or her children would have chosen, or would have wanted her to choose, but the great thing was that SHE got to choose her quality of life. It is a thought provoking book and it was very good for our book group discussion.
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Format: Paperback
Finding Frances is a beautiful book - kind and gentle with a few outbursts of appropriate anger at what was happening to their mother. The questions that are raised are done so with sensitivity. Those do not have to do with whether or not it is ever appropriate to intervene medically to end a life. No. This book is about when it may be appropriate to stop the intervention and allow a person to pass quietly. It is about the preservation and protection of the human in human life even as someone lay dying. How much intervention is too much? Who gets to decide that? Beautifully portrayed, and beautifully resolved.

Our family has gone through this very process twice this year - in May with my mother, and in July with my father-in-law. Janice's family is very different from ours, yet very alike at the same time. I loved this book. It is helping me to grieve.

Both times our family made similar decisions to what the Baldwins made. In the case of my mother, my brother finally told the medical staff that enough was enough. No more operations. No more medications, except what would keep her comfortable. No more oxygen that dried out her mouth and made her panic. No more poking and prodding. No more torture. She had gotten so tiny and frail - and bruised. Mom was ready to go - ready to see Jesus - so we let her go. All of us were with her when she left this earth. Somehow we couldn't hold her hand. Not sure why. We are very awkward about physical contact. There were many things in our growing up that kept us distant from one another, I guess. Maybe we thought that if we touched her, she would break. She was so frail.

My brother ordered pizza for everyone, and we visited and cracked jokes. That's how we deal with emotions we don't know what else to do with.
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More About the Author

Janice M. Van Dyck is an award-winning novelist and freelance writer.

Her current release, The Illusion of Secondhand Smoke, is about teenagers growing awry in the 1970's. Set in Levittown, Pennsylvania, the author describes the plot as a "modern-day Crime and Punishment," and an exploration of the choices that define us. "It's gritty, honest and probing," she says. "I'm not afraid to take on tough topics."

"I love to invent people and situations and then see what the characters are going to do. In my latest book, my protagonist Maria just couldn't bring herself to do what I needed her to do. She turned out to be a much better person than I ever imagined she was capable of. And the supporting cast, well let's just say they had a few surprises of their own. I never would have imagined what each of them would do when faced with their demons. I love getting into their heads. That's why I write."

Van Dyck's strength is in her insight and ability to describe a situation clearly, gracefully and with empathy for her characters. It is the cornerstone of her writing style. She tells stories that catch the reader's attention, give a new perspective, and motivate the reader to keep thinking about the topic long after they put the book down.


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